This Sunday night is the eighth annual Hell in a Cell event LIVE from the TD Garden in Boston Massachusetts. This year’s broadcast will feature the 34th, the 35th, and the 36th Hell in a Cell matches in history—which is pretty crazy, right? And honestly, I’m sitting here thinking the superfluous pay-per-view introduced in 2009 is to blame—but it’s not! There were THREE Hell in a Cell matches in 1998. 1998! This year there will have been four including Shane McMahon’s confounding effort against the Undertaker at WrestleMania 32. I know I’m probably preaching to the choir—or selling to the smarks, as it were—but that’s too damn many. It’s high-time Hell in a Cell goes the route of Elimination Chamber, which seems to have vanished into thin air thank god. These specialty contests are so much more enjoyable when they aren’t shoved into a uniform gap on the calendar each year. At least that’s my opinion. I guess we should talk about the card itself, and not just the match for which the event was named. My name is Mark Adam Haggerty, and this is “Educated Guess: Hell in a Cell 2016.”
Cedric Alexander, Lince Dorado, and Sin Cara vs. Tony Nese, Drew Gulak & Ariya Daivari
I was ready to release this column on Tuesday morning after the final RAW before this week’s event. Good thing I didn’t, because WWE announced two additional matches via social media. The first is our Kick-Off match, and features five of the fastest rising stars in WWE—and Sin Cara. I’m kidding of course, but only kind of. Sin Cara II, otherwise known as Hunico, has enjoyed his ups and downs throughout his tenure with WW, and seems to be on the right track once again as part of the cruiserweight division. Like many of you, I haven’t been blown away by the cruiserweights on WWE RAW, but I a liken them to the “Women’s Revolution of 2015,” which took longer to anchor than initially expected. I’m a fan of everyone in this match, with zero exceptions, although it’s curious to see Rich Swann not involved. Perhaps Swann is the next Superstar designated for the championship spot opposite TJ Perkins, and that’s why he’s been left out of this pre-show matchup.
Educated Guess: Cedric Alexander, Lince Dorado, and Sin Cara
Level of Certainty: 62%
Excitement Factor: 6/10
Bayley vs. Dana Brooke
As previously mentioned, WWE announced two additional matches via social media following Monday’s go-home edition of RAW, the second of which being a women’s one-on-one between Dana Brooke and Bayley. Speaking as a Bayley fan, and someone who loved watching her succeed as part of the NXT roster, I couldn’t care any less about her on RAW. She’s a non-factor whom I’ve become completely lukewarm and indifferent on. Dana Brooke I’m a bit more passionate about, in that I don’t like her. I think maybe this should have been designated a Kick-Off match, although I understand beginning the broadcast with a fast-paced six-man tag. Once again, I’m not at all interested in this, especially on a night wherein Sasha Banks and Charlotte are poised to make history.
Educated Guess: Dana Brooke
Level of Certainty: 51%
Excitement Factor: 2/10
Enzo Amore & Big Cass vs. Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson
I’ve been severely disappointed by the Club’s performance thus far since arriving in the WWE Universe. Clearly that’s no fault of their own, as Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows have been asked to play innumerable roles since debuting earlier this year. They were AJ Styles’ lackeys who only cared about “Beating up John Cena.” They were surgeons specializing in “Ringpostitus.” Now they seem to be playing themselves, but not their wrestling personas. Fans of the original “Talkin’ Shop” on MLW Radio—or the subsequently recreated version available via the Jericho Podcasting Network—probably recognize some familiar verbiage being used by the “Good Brothers.” Enzo and Cass, on the other hand, have been on a roll despite Cass losing an opportunity at the Universal Championship at the end of the summer. This one is tough to predict, though I hope Anderson and Gallows pick up the victory so as to save some face amid a recent array of crippling defeats.
Educated Guess: Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson
Level of Certainty: 59%
Excitement Factor: 4/10
WWE RAW Tag Team Championship
The New Day (c) vs. Cesaro & Sheamus
From one tag team encounter to the next, although this one carries with it championship implications. As of Friday, October 28, 2016 the New Day have been tag team champions for 431 days—exactly 100 days longer than the original single-reign record holders Paul London and Brian Kendrick. Combined with their inaugural run, they’ve held the titles for 480 days. WWE is now focusing on other records they’ve yet to break, including those of the longest-reigning world tag team champions—a title retired in 2010. Michael Cole mentioned this past week that Xavier Woods, Big E, and Kofi Kingston are “x” number of days away from conquering Demolitions’ record. Okay well—Demolition were champions for a combined reign of 698 days, so let’s talk about some short-term goals during the interim. If the New Day succeeds this Sunday, which I’m fairly certain they will, they’ll arrive at RAW on Day 483 of their combined reign—tying the Hart Foundation, who also held the titles 483 days over the course of two championship runs. I guess should mention the competition here, because there’s a chance they could win it. The Best of Seven that began on the first exclusive RAW of the new brand split culminated at Clash of Champions with a split-decision, ending the ‘Series in a draw. Instead of winning a singles opportunity at the United States or Universal Championship, the duo were awarded the chance to challenge for the tag team titles. With all that build from the dawning of day one of the “New Era,” you’d think their success would be all but certain—but it’s not. I think the New Day is going to retain, and I don’t think we’re going to see new tag team champions until 2017.
Educated Guess: The New Day
Level of Certainty: 88%
Excitement Factor: 7/10
WWE Cruiserweight Championship
TJ Perkins (c) vs. Brian Kendrick
The story going into the second cruiserweight championship title defense of the New Era is, uh—Brian Kendrick cannot win. And if Brian Kendrick doesn’t win the championship, he cannot feed his family. Therefore Brian Kendrick asked TJ Perkins to take a dive, so as to help feed Brian Kendrick’s kids. TJ Perkins is clearly more cordial than the “Beast Incarnate” Brock Lesnar, however his facial response to Kendrick’s request can be summed up with some choice words from the former heavyweight champion: “I don’t give a shit about your kids.” But also—doesn’t he get paid regardless? I know I’m splitting hairs and speaking about a make-believe scenario that doesn’t actually exist, but it should at least make sense. I think it’s safe to assume Perkins will retain this Sunday, and go on to work his next program with Rich Swann or perhaps even Sin Cara. Or what about Tajiri? I like the idea of Perkins conquering veteran talents before moving on to otherwise unestablished stars such as Swann. Either way, I’m not enamored with the Cruiserweight Division, but I’m openly optimistic.
Educated Guess: TJ Perkins
Level of Certainty: 99%
Excitement Factor: 7/10
Hell in a Cell Match #34
WWE United States Championship
Roman Reigns (c) vs. Rusev
Man—I don’t even want to talk about these Hell in a Cell matches to be honest. I spoke in the opening about how jaded I’ve become as pertains to the conceptualized live events of the modern era. And that’s not to say there isn’t a place for pay-per-views such as the Royal Rumble and Survivor Series. But Hell in a Cell, Elimination Chamber, TLC, Extreme Rules—they’ve all got to GO. This is the first-ever United States Championship Hell in a Cell match. In fact, all three ‘Cell matches are for titles that have previously gone uncontested inside “Satan’s Structure.” I weight a number of my title match predictions on other outcomes, knowing full well that not every championship cannot change hands on a pay-per-view. At the same time, history dictates that at least one title change is always likely to occur. I don’t think Roman Reigns is losing the championship, however I wouldn’t be surprised to see Rusev reign supreme. Of the three, this is the ‘Cell match for which I’m truly most excited.
Educated Guess: Roman Reigns
Level of Certainty: 74%
Excitement Factor: 10/10
Hell in a Cell Match #35
WWE Universal Championship
Seth Rollins vs. Kevin Owens (c)
The Universal Championship is so fucking dumb. I don’t mean the way it looks, because the red doesn’t bother me at all. I mean its utter existence in the world of wrestling. But I guess that doesn’t matter. As I said moments ago, I can’t go into much detail on these Hell in a Cell matches because I’ll immediately run out of constructive things to say. I’m never a fan of multiple-person matches, but this would have been better served as a triple threat. Maybe not with Chris Jericho, because I like the odds of seeing Owens and Y2J at Survivor Series in Toronto. But a three-person contest would add some variety to what’s currently scheduled as three singles ‘Cell matches inside of three hours. I think it’s incredibly likely Kevin Owens retains and goes on to defend the championship next month in his native Canada. But that begs the question—where does Seth Rollins go? If Owens enters into a program with Chris Jericho, what’s to become of the former Architect of the Shield?
Educated Guess: Kevin Owens
Level of Certainty: 82%
Excitement Factor: 9/10
Hell in a Cell Match #36
WWE RAW Women’s Championship
Sasha Banks (c) vs. Charlotte
We’re going to assume this is the main event. Last week Mick Foley revealed via Facebook that Sasha Banks and Charlotte would headline the annual Hell in a Cell pay-per-view. He then went on to delete his post moments later. But let’s go with it anyway. That being said, however, I can’t help but think this groundbreaking main event would mean more if there wasn’t another WWE Women’s Championship. It’s the same argument I started to make about the Universal Title, although I stopped myself to stay on track. I’m giving this a ten-out-of-ten in terms of excitement. We’re never seen a women’s cage match in WWE, let alone a Hell in a Cell match. Although, if we’re being honest, the ‘Cell seems much safer. This is without question the hardest match to predict on the entire card. While a Sasha Banks victory in her hometown would play well to the locals in Boston, I think losing would cause a more lasting effect that could be felt worldwide. I’m going with Charlotte to regain the women’s championship for what will be her third reign.
Educated Guess: Charlotte
Level of Certainty: 51%
Excitement Factor: 10/10
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